Just about a month ago, I took Caedmon to see a nurse practitioner for his six-month check-up. One of the topics of discussion between us was that of communication.
"Does Caedmon effectively communicate his needs to you?" she began. "Are you able to distinguish between his cry for a diaper change and his cry for hunger? Sometimes the difference is subtle."
"I don't know," I said. "Repeatedly banging his face against my chest seems pretty obvious to me."
Since that conversation, I've been thinking quite a bit about communication between Caedmon and me. I like to think I understand what he wants or needs pretty quickly. I'm still learning, though.
A couple weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch, holding Caedmon in my lap. He was chewing on and shaking a rattle, and I was talking to Adelaide, who was sitting at the table. My conversation with Adelaide was punctuated by the sound of the rattle hitting the floor, over and over, as Caedmon kept accidentally dropping it. When Adelaide left the room, I happened to look at Caedmon, just in time to see him throw the rattle onto the floor, then look up at me expectantly. He was doing it on purpose.
Because he has me well-trained, I bent over and picked up the rattle, handed it to him. He shook it once then threw it back down, and again, looked at me. Rather than picking up the toy, I stared back at him, wondering what he would do. Within a few seconds he started to whimper, and gave me a look that clearly said, "That rattle's not going to pick itself up, milk slave."
See? Caedmon is an excellent communicator, and I am a skilled translator.
Atticus has a vocabulary that is expanding each day. He still relies on non-verbal communication, but I sometimes have to stretch myself to find the deeper meaning in his actions.
For example, this is the scene I stumbled upon last week:
Just as I was about to chastise him for making a huge mess, I thought to myself, Wait a minute. Maybe he's just trying to help me out here. Maybe he sees how much my kitchen floor needs a thorough scrubbing, and he decided it was up to him to provide the catalyst that would force me to clean.
Or, you know, maybe he just wanted to see what it would be like to dump an entire box of baking soda onto the floor.